Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Local Patching October

When I started wildlife watching again I gravitated to the nature reserves or woods where I knew there would be more species to see, but this year I've done a bit more within walking distance from home. Over this week I'll post some images from our little valley, starting with a couple of birds and a moth, then later some fungi and plants.
Winter's icy fingers have been reaching down this week, and the first signs have appeared in the garden with a female blackcap, marsh/willow tit and a grey wagtail showing for the first time since spring arrived. As far as I know they have all managed to evade the juvenile sparrowhawk that's been visiting on an irregular basis for a month or two now. It sits on the arch where we hang our feeders, or on the birdtable itself, and clearly does have successful forays at times given the little piles of feathers that appear occasionally. These shots were from a bedroom window, handheld but resting on the sill. At 1/15th or 1/20th second I think they are surprisingly sharp, a testament to the Canon 300mm f2.8 image stabilisation system, even with a x2 converter in place. And, of course my marksman-like tremor free grip!
Up the valley I had another double take moment - a stonechat that wasn't quite right. The bird itself was only the second I'd ever seen here, but what threw me was the black on the head which was limited in extent and shaped more like the whinchat mask, but without the white. On reflection I guess it was a juvenile male working up to full plumage. It never really came close enough for a snap (nor did the meadow pipits also on the hedge), but this one did oblige, albeit fleetingly and after the sun had gone.
Lastly this Angle Shades was sitting on the path, in full autumn colours.

As always better quality pics on the the web albums
- click HERE

1 comment:

Jane said...

Great pictures of the sparrow hawk. We have one visit our garden, but I've never been able to get such sharp pics. Thanks! Jane